diwali celebration: adventures and risking your life

after spending the day only in the room, studying, going online, downloading movies like the previous day, we finally went out. devika and pranjal came with us. the first (little) adventure is when we were in the auto. shabnam sat on mine and prerona’s laps. pranjal sat besides the driver, but then on the way he moved to back seat and devika sat on his lap.

our plan was to go to Purana Qila. i have been there once. i knew some light, sound and fountain show takes place there. we also browsed the internet, but the phone number of the place was unreachable. after we got lost on the way but finally managed to reach the place… unfortunately the place was closed. damn. he guard didnt even allow prerona to take pictures from the gate. but for sure they will see the movie aaj kal, as purana qila was the setting 😛

then where to go? we decided to go to india gate as some of us haven’t been there (though been in delhi for quite some time). it was my third time. this time it wasn’t so crowded. so few people, in fact. bought chana and kuchka (pani puri, or golgappe). bought devil horns and glowing hairy balls (with a face…).

then we found a boy, means he was lost. he didn’t cry. almost without expression. he was cute. we played with him before we realized that the boy is not accompanied by anyone. pranjal indeed looked like a father. but then the family claimed him. what a family!

from there we couldn’t find an auto. so we walked hoping to reach central secretariat metro station. it was a long walk. we crossed the line that divide india gate in the middle, and delhi between north and south. we saw attraction of bikes. some pageul larka. speeding then stopped the break suddently till the back side tilted. one even stood on his bike for a few seconds. okay.. maybe they just wanted to entertain us.

then it seems like c.sect was still no where within our view. while walking we enjoyed the fireworks. then they became larger as we are approaching the source. some people lighted them. but then we could hear the sounds became louder. the sparks almost reached us. and we smelled the smoke also… something that is beautiful from far could be dangerous from a close distance.

we went back by auto since, after we reached c.sect, the metro didnt work. we shared the auto with a man going to vasant vihar. in the campus, we didn’t see anything on jhelum ground. so we let the autodriver took us to the t-point, where we had to walk home.

new delhi’s new airport terminal

so i had to go to the airport last night. to pick up an indonesian student who got a scholarship. he already texted me twice, asking me to do so, to accompany him. though i’m not really sure, whether to accompany him from the airport to the hostel and/or from hostel to campus (jamia millia). he gave me the date, but not the flight number. i was also stupid that i didnt ask him that important info. i was a bit reluctant because earlier i thought some indonesian students from jamia will do the task, also because he can stay in one of their places (our basecamp) in zakir nagar. but let’s not rely on that. so i went there. took an autorickhaw at around 9.30 (he’s supposed to arrive at that time and my flat isnt so far from airport). after bargain, i agreed for 130 rupee despite its the era of meter for autorickshaw in delhi 😐

on the way, before the toll road, we were stopped by some officers because auto is not allowed. there was a debate on how much i should pay him. they also questioned the rickshaw-wallah for not activating the meter. so i just paid him 100 and waiting for the airport bus at some scary, dark so-called bus stop. the bus came and it took me to the new airport terminal (terminal 3). some sikh men who talked to the conductor informed that i should go down there only. i didnt mind at all because i wanted to check out that cool terminal 😀

the terminal is good, very clean. it functions for both domestic and international. there’s no visitor’s lounge where we have to pay 80 rupee to have the priviledge to see the arriving people first in the air-conditioned room, before they got out of the building and enter the wilderness of india hehe.. anyway i was waiting and didn’t really know what to do. i didnt see the iccr guy who deals with my country (and picked me up exactly last year) i called the iccr (the scholarship) guy and, since his english is not comprehendable, i thought he said there was somebody from iccr who was there. still, i wrote at a paper « ICCR Indonesia Mr. so-and-so » and joined the people and waited. i was so bored. some guys were leading the trolleys, some were mopping the floor with that tiny cars. some hotel people were smelly…

but while waiting, i realized that enjoyed being there. enjoyed the gushing AC from inside everytime the automatic doors open; imagining the stores inside; especially seeing faces from all over the world (muscat, hong kong, addis ababa, even paris), coming by different carriers, smell of expensive perfumes. wondering their purpose of coming to india. their expression were so various, anxious searching for the one who would pick them up, either their friends, relatives or strangers; how they react when they found it. one guy seemed unable to find it for a long time, and he kept moving to and fro. some guys were very cute. a group carrying large bags, i thought they were going for hiking (i still remember my trip to nepal and leh). and i think i was also practising stereotyping. i thought some people were definetely indian (sharp noses, beard, and more identifiably… the sikh turban), some were chinese or korean or japanese. and i was sure that some people were indonesian, from the way they look and the way they looked at me or my paper. really… how am i supposed to know how this mr.so-and-so looks like?? and i also witnessed something interesting when i was so desperate and sat on the floor… a guy suddenly knelt down and put his head on the floor like one of the islamic prayer poses, as if kissing the floor. i was so shocked, i thought he fell! but he was actually honoring a person, a guy in white who wasnt too old. that guy in white only smiled, touched his back, and didn’t seem arrogant. a boy also bowed down.

boredom struck me again. so i went up to the departure floor. took the escalator 4 times (twice only bring you to the skywalk to the car park). it was more crowded, a lot of people sitting on the floor. but i have to admit that the terminal does look modern and beautiful (though lacking indianness). it was 12. i decided that if mr.so-and-so arrived by the airline at 11 (there was one from bangkok arriving exactly at 9.30), he would have reached the hostel anyway. so i went to the pre-paid taxi booth. the guy talked to me in hindi. again i have to come back to reality.

first-time seminar in india

namaste! good morning! assalamualaikum.

so, i came to a seminar. not really my kind of topic, but anyhow i was there. i was invited my my hostel-mate Aftab to a seminar on Islamic finance on Feb 3-4, 2010 at India Islamic Cultural Centre in Delhi. we went by a bus provided for us at our campus.

there were great speakers. but mostly they are political figures, on the first day. chief minister of some state, former justice, and the presidents of the organizers (Indo-Arab Economic Cooperation Forum and Institute of Objective Studies). i enjoyed listening to a topic that is not exactly my specialty. you know, to broaden my perspective and my general knowledge. the last speaker honestly concluded « ok, after hearing all the speakers before me, I just realize that the (economic) crisis is not over yet. Rather, we are heading to it ». As I was mostly asleep during the presentations, I took off quietly after the tea break.

I sent a text message to Aftab. But he called me and said something, as I couldn’t hear him clearly because I was on an auto-rickshaw, maybe he wanted to introduce me to someone, maybe he just wanted me to stay for the non-veg lunch. But I really had to go, although not that early, because I had to be at home. A guy from Malaysian airlines’ partner will pick up my damaged baggage for repair (I thought they’d just give me a new one. But OK, this is India) at 3 o’clock. So I went to Sarojini Nagar Market first, buying something that I really needed, like cute shawl, t-shirt and pants, and « window-shopping » or tent-shopping, especially for bags and shoes. 😛

I had to tell him that I could come again the next day, which I regretted so much since I had 3 classes and I missed classes the whole last week.

So I came there again. This time it was nicer. I learnt about the economy, the stocks, islamic banking, backdropped by justice and morality. The chairperson of the session was very strict in preventing the speaker to pass the given time limit (so that we’ve not starving). In Indonesia some banks have even opened sharia-window. And also sharia insurance products. But in India, we have to be extra careful in using Islamic terms. It is about to start, the application of the system.

I met some people and even got pictured with Umar Chopra 🙂 I took off with some students by public bus and made it to the final class of the day.